Monday, January 18, 2010

Becoming An Heirloom...


I was pretty happy the other day when, upon pure stupid luck I discovered that the button cell batteries in something with LEDs in it that broke on me, fit in this Lotte keychain watch I got in the mid 90's. I thought I'd never replace the battery in it, it died in like 1998, so for over 10 years this little device hasn't worked. It was a gift from my cousin's first trip to Japan, and I've always loved it anyway, even if it didn't have that connotation to it. I honestly didn't even think it'd work even with brand new batteries, after all of this time. But lo and behold, one battery and a careful installation did the trick. I've officially declared this item an heirloom. ^^

Now, I'm an introspective soul, so whenever I would buy anything for the longest time I would think ahead to when I'd had it "forever and ever" (about 20 years) and it would essentially be a conversation piece. When I see something I want - and moreover when I ultimately obtain it - I more or less categorize it in my head as something that will stick with me for a long time, something that's "neat" and will ultimately end up in the closet or in a box somewhere over time, or something that I like but will in the end, sell. That last one I don't really see a long ways off most of the time, i.e. - videogames. Initially, I thought that I would keep most or all of my games for a long time because I am (or was) sentimental about playing games over and over, love nostalgia, etc.

Over time, though, I sort of fell out of love and started to view the games I'd kept all of this time as "wasted space" or hunks of gray plastic. Some of this emerging attitude had to do with the fact that when technology was closer (i.e. - crappier), those games were still very entertaining to go back to. Also, there's that sort of "Crisco on the lens" effect that makes hindsight - as far as nostalgia is concerned anyway - blurry in a really fun way. As I aged more and reality set in, I think that for me at least, I realized that the gameplay aspect was still kind of there (I played through the first two Zelda games again the other day and they both still held my interest quite well, but I realized just how small they were this time around) but in general it's the art form of the game and aspects of design and such, that make the nostalgia hold so well. And that makes me really, really happy. Because going back and playing a game to relive being 8 is one thing, but when I can hear the music, look at a clump of pixels and truly appreciate them, and wade into art and products that glorify this as a medium (not to mention the numerous awesome Flash games and such that draw artistically on the 8/16-bit era), it makes me truly happy.

Some of the reason behind my waning interest was that aforementioned space constraint, and the fact that shelves of anime figures and paraphernalia take up much more space than a few game systems and fixed-form games that fit back-to-back in a drawer. The upside to this is that figures and such aren't uniform and are much more interesting to look at, versus plastic with a sticker on it, or a CD/DVD. And I know that's being completely superficial about it, because after all games are supposed to be about playing them, not thumbing through the manual or looking at the box, but if I'm not going to play the game again anyway, why keep it? I already played it, I have the memories of having played it, what's the difference if I keep it or not?

Finally, a large part of keeping these, since I wasn't planning on opening a museum dedicated to gaming, was going to be sharing them with my kids. Yes, I was geeky and foresight-ridden enough to actually think, "I'll keep this longer, it'll be awesome to share with my kids." But the more and more time rolls forward, well I don't even know any women that are unattached let alone have had any sort of date or anything in forever, so I don't see children in the offing anytime soon.

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